Rheumatoid Arthritis Q & A

 

nurseWhat is rheumatoid arthritis?


Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, meaning it affects the entire body. It is a chronic disease, in which various joints in the body are inflamed, leading to swelling, pain, stiffness, and the possible loss of function. The inflammatory process can also occur in other parts of the body.

What causes it?

 

Inflammation is a byproduct of the body's immune system, which fights infection and heals injuries.

Immune System Changes

 

A healthy immune system is designed to protect the body from harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses. When invaders are present, two kinds of infection-fighting white blood cells go into action. These white blood cells are called lymphocytes and leukocytes. Lymphocytes are either T-cells or B-cells. T-cells detect the invaders and tell the B-cells to attack and destroy them. In rheumatoid arthritis, the T-cells become overactive. They also mistake the body's own tissues for invaders and instruct the B-cells to attack them.

 

The T-cells also alert the leukocytes, the other type of specialized white blood cells. Leukocytes produce chemicals that attract additional white blood cells to the area and widen the blood vessels so that more blood floods in. Normally, the inflammation caused by these chemicals facilitates healing, then stops when the mission has been accomplished. In RA, however, the inflammatory process continues on, creating excessive inflammation that can cause damage. One of the mysteries of RA is why this process spins out of control.

 

When an injury or an infection occurs, white blood cells fight to rid the body of any foreign proteins, such as a virus. These masses of blood cells group at the injured or infected site and cause the area to become inflamed. Normally the inflammatory process is controlled and self-limited, but in people with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, something keeps this process going.

What exactly keeps this process going? No one really knows for sure, although theories abound. Scientists have found that certain genes that play a role in the immune system are associated with a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Stress, infectious agents, environment, and hormones are all suspected triggers.

What are the symptoms?

The infamous symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is morning stiffness that lasts for at least an hour. Pain, redness and swelling may also occur in the joints. The joint symptoms are usually (but not always) symmetric, if the left knee is affected, so is the right, etc. Other symptoms can include weight loss, fatigue, and fever; a general flu like feeling. In about 20% of people with RA, inflammation of small blood vessels can cause nodules, or lumps, under the skin. They are about the size of a pea or slightly larger, and are often located near the elbow, although they can show up anywhere.

How is it diagnosed?

Rheumatoid arthritis may be difficult to diagnose. Many other conditions can resemble it and its symptoms can develop insidiously. Blood tests and x-rays may show normal results for months after the onset of joint pain.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, 4 of the following 7 symptoms indicate a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis:

  1. Morning stiffness, lasting for at least an hour, present daily for at least 6 weeks.
  2. Arthritis of 3 or more joints, lasting for at least 6 weeks.
  3. Arthritis of the hand joints, lasting for at least 6 weeks.
  4. Symmetric arthritis, lasting for at least 6 weeks.
  5. Rheumatoid nodules.
  6. Positive rheumatoid factor. (blood test)
  7. Joint changes on x-ray.

 

It is important to note that 20% of the people with RA will never have a positive rheumatoid factor; you can have RA and have a negative rheumatoid factor.

Is there a suggested treatment diet?

Everybody has a diet to "cure rheumatism," but no diet has yet been found to be a cure-all for everyone with rheumatoid arthritis. However some people are able to lessen their symptoms by a change in diet. Some claim that foods from the nightshade family--tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers, and eggplant--can make arthritis worse. Eliminating these for several weeks and then re- introducing them, one at a time, is a simple way to test for night shade family sensitivity. About 5% of people with RA experience worse symptoms after drinking milk. Still others have an increase in symptoms after eating red meat. It is important to remember that no one diet will work for everyone and perhaps the best diet plan for a person with RA is simply a healthy balanced diet.

What treatments are suggested by most conventional doctors?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDS such as aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil), DEMARDS, steroids, biological response modifiers, antibiotics, joint replacement surgery, and the prosorba column (blood cleansing and replacing). The list of possible adverse side effects to these treatments is long and scary.

NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Available over the counter or by prescription, they fight inflammation or swelling and relieve pain. NSAIDS are usually the first drug prescribed to a person newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. NSAIDS may relieve pain and swelling, but they do not slow the disease process. Some well known NSAIDS are Aleve, Asiprin, Advil and Excedrin. These older medications can be problematic because, with continued use, serious side effects often develop: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, kidney problems, liver problems, and bleeding ulcers.

A new class of cox2 inhibiting pain relief medications have entered the market. These new medications are reportedly safer alternatives to older NSAIDS (which contain cox-1 plus cox-2 enzymes). Cox is an abbreviation for "cyclooxygenase." There are two primary cyclooxygenase enzymes: cox-1 and cox-2. Cox-1 helps maintain platelet and kidney function and are integral to maintaining homeostasis ( state of equilibrium of the internal environment of the body).Cox-2 is one of several enzymes that lead to the formation of substances that can cause joint and connective tissue problems. Researchers discovered that cox-2 enzyme is involved in several major diseases including: alzheimers , rheumatic and osteo-arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. The most popular of these expensive drugs are Celebrex and Vioxx. Unlike traditional NSAIDs, however, they do not block the action of cox-1, an enzyme known to protect the stomach lining. Therefore, drugs in this cox-2 category reduce joint pain and inflammation with reduced risk of gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding.

DMARDS (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) are also known as SAARDS (slow acting anti rheumatic drugs. As their name might suggest these medications take some time to be effective, up to several months. Most of them were originally invented to treat other diseases but were noted to have a positive effect on rheumatoid arthritis. Most of them do not have any common properties other than their ability to slow down the progression of the disease. The most common DMARDS used include methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, gold and leflunomide (Arava). All of them have significant and often, long term, side effects. A decision to take these drugs should be made with complete understanding of the possible down sides as well as the benefits.

The newest RA medications, biologic response modifiers, are drugs that interfere with the autoimmune response in RA. These are drugs that are genetically engineered to target the immune factors known as cytokines, particularly tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and certain interleukins, which play a major role in the destructive RA process. Enbrel and Remicade fall into this category. These are given by injection and can have serious side effects, particularly if the patient may be ‘immune system compromised. by other drugs.

Oral corticosteroids, such as prednisolone and prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone) usually work quickly to control inflammation. Due to the potential for very serious side effects, long term use is usually discouraged. Corticosteroids can also be injected directly into the joint for temporary relief of inflammation limited to one particular joint. Continued injections can hasten joint deterioration.

Another new treatment is a device called the Prosorba column. It mechanically removes inflammatory antibodies from the blood. The blood is first removed from the body through a catheter (a process called apheresis) and then passes through a column coated with a substance called protein A, which binds to the antibodies. The blood is then returned to the patient.

Recent studies have shown the antibiotics in the tetracycline family to have a positive impact on the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown first promoted this treatment in the 70’s and 80’s but his high success rate with 10,000 patients was not well received by traditional rheumatologists. The antibiotic treatment is usually continued over a period of several years.


Are there any "alternative" treatment choices without side effects?

Many, like acupuncture and massage which use to be considered "alternative" are now mainstream and some are paid for by insurance companies. Pharmaceutical companies are working hard to convert beneficial "over the counter" herbal remedies into profitable drugs versions of these herbs.

Alternative treatments are seldom suggested by the medical community. Doctors are not able to recommend supplements that are not currently listed among the treatments in their "accepted standard of care" . This does not mean that alternative treatments are no good, it only means that no one has made available the millions of dollars necessary to run the clinical trials that the medical world in America and many other countries needs to be able to offer a treatment. The nutritional supplement suggested here (CMO+) is a simple ingredient that is actually in butter (in small amounts). This simple ingredient with a big name, cerasomal-cis-9-cetylmyristoleate (CMO), has helped thousands of people with autoimmune type illnesses for many years. No harmful side effects have ever been reported.

This author’s own doctor suggested replacing her thumb joint 6 years go because the pain was extreme from an old skiing accident and she did not want to take NSAIDS on a daily basis. One bottle of CMO was taken and three months later the thumb was as good as new and consistently pain free. Six years later the pain and swelling are still “gone”. Mine was a case of osteoarthritis, but joint pain, nonetheless. Chronic neck pain was also eliminated by the same one bottle of CMO. 6 months after taking CMO I gave away all the fancy “neck pain relief” pillows I had bought. Now I can sleep anywhere using whatever pillow is available. X-Rays still show my neck as arthritic, but it is not getting worse and I have no pain.

CMO+HPR, an alternative supplement choice for rheumatoid arthritis care: CMO+HPR is a joint supplement (CMO+) with added digestive enzymes plus a homeopathic pain reliever, (HPR). It is believed to have immune adjusting benefits < http://www.cerasomal-cis-9-cetylmyristoleate.com/cmo_facts.html > and has helped many RA and osteo patients return to a life so pain free that they no longer depend on expensive, destructive drugs to get thru the day.

Those that have been helped by CMO+HPR believe it is a gift from heaven. Why? After one treatment of 10-20 days they have a few extra dollars in their pocket because they no longer spend hundreds of dollars each month on drugs. They walk the malls again, or play a round of golf with their buddies. They build sand castles with their grandchildren and hug everyone they love without the fear of experiencing pain! They don’t use up all their annual sick days from work by June first because they CAN now easily get out of bed each morning. They are able to attend their son’s wrestling match, toss a baseball with him or watch their daughter’s soccer game and still have the energy to give a toddler a bath before bed. They cook more of the family’s favorite meals because they can - their hands hurt less. They return to good living and leave behind the life of COPING WITH PAIN!!

TRY CMO+HPR for 20 days. If, after 30 days, you do not feel better, move easier and require significantly less (if any) of an occasional pain medication, we will give you your money back. . Adding omega 3 fatty acids (6,000mg per day) and a quality, recommended (http://www.drtheo.com) glucosamine sulfate/chondroitin sulfate supplement to your daily diet for 4 months will help the joint repair process. Adding appropriate exercise back into your life is also vital to restoring full joint use. <click here for some additional options of alternative treatment choices http://www.alternatives4arthritis.com>

Does CMO+HPR help anyone with RA joint pain and stiffness?

NO, CMO+HPR is ineffective for those presently taking any of the steroids, DEMARDs, Enbrel or Remacide. WHY? These drugs interfere with the positive function of the immune system. CMO+HPR is believed to work by first relieving pain temporarily and then by helping the immune system adjust the “over-attack” on the joints. Six years of experience marketing CMO has taught us that only after immune suppressing drugs are completely out of one’s system and immune function is restored (over time) can CMO+HPR be effective.

Experts strongly recommend that you add omega 3 fish oil to your diet before during and after taking CMO. It has been proven in many studies to be a major benefit to those suffering from any arthritic condition.

Research summary: "Fish Oil and Its Effects on Arthritis"

Celebrex, Vioxx and older NSAIDS do not appear to interfere with CMO+HPR and can be taken during the 20 day use of CMO+HPR. A few customers may need extra days of treatment to receive optimal benefits.

Good health is a matter of wisdom. And wisdom is the ability to use knowledge correctly.

We wish you good health as you make choices to increase your vitality.

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